5 Tips for Going Back to School After Getting a Divorce
You decided that getting a divorce is the beginning of a new chapter of your life – and you’re going back to school! Here are a few tips for transitioning to student life after divorcing your husband.
The Apple iPad Air was the best investment I made when I went back to school (I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver – I wrote about it a little in How to Get Into Grad School on Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals). I actually bought a Galaxy tablet, but wish I would’ve invested in an Apple.
The reason I recommend an iPad is because it’s perfect for reading journal articles and textbooks on the bus and while you’re eating lunch. You can do research on it whenever you get a break, and carry a ton of information without hauling heavy books around. If you’re going back to school after getting a divorce, you need to make your life as easy and simple as possible! You deserve it.
Back to School Tips After a Divorce
Don’t compare yourself to the other students. When I went back to university at 42 years old, I was older than a couple of my professors! I don’t have children, which also set me apart. My fellow students were much younger and more culturally astute than I am, and were definitely in a different headspace. When you’re going back to school after getting a divorce, you may be the only mature student with actual, serious life experience. Don’t compare yourself to your fellow students.
Highlight your strengths. Since you’re probably older than most of your peers, you may be a tad wiser. Your life experience – including transitioning from getting married to thinking about divorce to actually getting divorced – has given you insights and wounds that your fellow students don’t have. This can be a good thing! You have a deeper
Rebuild your self-confidence. After getting a divorce, you may feel like you’ve lost yourself. You may not feel strong, valuable, lovable, smart, or competent. Your self-esteem may be at an all-time low, and you may be second-guessing your decision to go back to school after the divorce. I encourage you to connect with people, activities, and resources that help you feel strong, independent, and capable. Find other divorced women who know what it’s like to go through a marriage breakdown. Support them, and let them support you.
Take it one assignment at a time. I finished my Master of Social Work three months ago, and I still feel relief, joy, peace, and gratitude that I graduated! It was really hard to go back to school – and I’m not divorced. There were times I felt like I wanted to drop out of school, or at least drop down to part-time studies. College or university is hard, especially when you’re not used to the routine of classes, assignments, writing papers, and working in groups to create powerpoint presentations. One of my best tips for going back to school as a mature student after getting a divorce is to take it one step at a time. Don’t look at the whole year; just focus on the next assignment. Read How to Study When You Can’t Focus if you can’t concentrate on the next assignment due.
Get a seat cushion. Recent research shows that students are developing chronic back pain from the hard, uncomfortable chairs in classrooms. When I was in university, I stood at the back of the room during class. I hated sitting for two or three hour stretches! One of my fellow students had his own seat cushion, which I always thought was a brilliant idea.
The Orthopedic Gel Seat Cushion by Collections Etc is a bestseller on Amazon, because it helps students sit for extended periods of time and be comfortable. There’s a generous layer of soft, supporting liquid gel, which is encased within high density foam to conform to your bummy.
My prayer for women going back to school after getting a divorce is that you find courage, faith, and strength to not just survive the school year, but thrive! May you find the right students to connect with, and may you be open about asking for help when you’re confused, unsure, or worried about school. May you connect with other women going back to school after divorce. May you get and stay emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy – and may you be motivated by the things that are important to you.
I neglected to mention finances for women going back to school after getting divorced – read How to Deal With Debt After Divorce if student loans, mortgage payments, or other financial burdens are overwhelming you.
What have I missed in these tips for going back to school after getting a divorce? I know there’s alot of information you need, and I couldn’t include it all.
If you’re worried about the academic aspects of going back to school after a divorce (i.e., how to study), read Help for Adult Learners and Mature College Students.